Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF)

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

July 2015

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

October 2010 – April 2014

Poor nutrition is linked to the twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity.

Many of New York’s low-income communities are commonly referred to as food deserts because residents lack access to healthy, affordable foods. Without healthy food options, residents are left to shop at corner stores that primarily sell high-fat, high-sugar, and heavily processed foods. To increase fresh and healthy food options in low-income communities across New York State, Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), in partnership with The Food Trust and The Reinvestment Fund, launched the New York Healthy Food and Healthy Communities Fund.

In 2010, NYHealth awarded LIIF a grant to assist with the launch and project implementation of the New York Healthy Food and Healthy Communities Fund.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Reached more than 57,000 low-income New Yorkers in 12 food desert areas across the State;
  • Distributed more than $26 million in grants and loans for projects in support of the initiative; and
  • Built or expanded more than 144,000 square feet of grocery space, resulting in the creation of more than 1,000 jobs.

LIIF faced a lower-than-expected demand for grocery and food store borrowing—the weak economy delayed many small business owners from expanding or building new stores. The economic recovery was also not as robust in low-income communities at the time. Consequently, LIFF was slower to reach all of its intended goals during the grant period. At the close of the grant, however, LIIF was on track to serve an additional 10 food desert areas supporting more than 3,000 individuals in New York State. It also had expansion plans in place to secure an additional 100,000 square feet of grocery space.

LIIF has provided technical assistance and trainings to additional stores across New York, and is advising other cities and states on similar projects that have been launched.